By Kayli Farris,
Fayetteville City Council is scheduled to decide during a Dec. 18 meeting whether UA officials should control traffic through part of Dickson Street.
“The university in late July 2012 requested by letter to the mayor that we be able to exercise periodic operational control over a portion of Dickson Street and several intersections on campus (initially from Harmon Avenue to Garland Avenue) during the academic semesters, primarily Monday to Friday during the class day (approximately 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.),” Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities management, replied in an email.
The Fayetteville Street Committee referred the proposal to the Town and Gown Committee about a week ago, Johnson said in an interview. Town and Gown members unanimously approved the proposal.
If City Council approves, the UofA will take operational control Jan. 14, the first day of classes for the spring semester, city engineer Chris Brown said.
A booth will be installed on Dickson, where officials will monitor and redirect traffic to turn left on Harmon, Johnson said.
Johnson and others reviewed “a range of options” on what they determined to be the best “operational control restriction” for Dickson. “Our major motivating factor is first and foremost our 24/7/365 safety focus, both pedestrian and vehicular,” Johnson wrote. “This safety concern is mainly focused on the McIlroy Avenue and Dickson Street intersection for this effort, where we have a huge volume of pedestrian traffic interfacing with vehicular traffic of various types during the class day.”
Johnson thinks the proposal will pass, he said, because the idea has broad support.
“The administration is in support of this, with a few requirements/stipulations,” Brown said.
Officials would restrict traffic in this area to allow only emergency vehicles; transit buses; UA, private service and delivery vehicles and university-affiliated drivers with appropriate parking lot stickers, Johnson said.